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Closing the global gender gap

Education is the key to not only better health outcomes but also less global conflict

Today, sex-based inequalities and inequities shape how individuals are disproportionately exposed to adverse determinants of health. Our sex can determine how well or ill we become, and if or how our health care needs are acknowledged and met.1 The underlying reasons for this disparity are complex and diverse, shaped by how sex and sexual customs interact within varying political and social contexts. Discriminatory values, norms and behaviours, different exposures and disease vulnerability, and health system and health research biases all interact to result in sex-based inequities in health outcomes.1 Conversely, ill health, in and of itself, can also negatively influence social and economic outcomes.

The World Economic Forum has developed a framework, the Global Gender Gap Index, to measure sex-based disparities among countries and to track these disparities over time.2 The framework outlines and examines inequities between men and women in four broad categories: economic participation and opportunity; educational attainment; health and survival; and political empowerment. These four “pillars” are considered essential in recognising the importance of the role of women in society and in diminishing…